I am always blown away at how homeless people respond when I give them new socks.
It goes without saying that homelessness is exceptionally challenging. That means people are not always in the best of moods. However, when presented with fresh new socks, more often than not recipients give me an enthusiastic smile. One homeless youth even yelled out “White Gold” when I handed him two pairs of Hanes socks.
When I first noticed Richard, he was helping two women who looked like tourists with directions in downtown Dallas, Texas. It was kind of neat to see because you could tell Richard was going out of his way to be helpful.
When I handed him new socks, I was not prepared for his emotional reaction. His feet were hurting from not wearing socks and having new socks almost brought him to tears. Me too!
Richard is an Army veteran. He became homeless after Katrina. He and his wife lived in FEMA camps before moving to Dallas.
Richard panhandles to get into a shelter at night. Shelters in Dallas charge between $7.50 and $10 a night. He is in a work therapy program at the VA that pays him $1 an hour for the 24 hours he works every week!
Even though he is on the streets, homeless, Richard chooses to stay happy. His smile glows. I believe part of that is his helpful spirit trying to give back to others whatever he can. It makes me happy that I brightened his day by giving him a simple pair of socks.